St. Catherine's Dominican Monastery - Tallinn, Estonia
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member Chasing Blue Sky
N 59° 26.285 E 024° 44.919
35V E 372317 N 6590994
The medieval St. Catherine's Dominican Monastery once stood at the current locat of St. Peter and Paul's Cathedral, which is situated along Vene Street, in the Old Town area of Tallinn, Estonia.
Waymark Code: WMFKAJ
Location: Estonia
Date Posted: 10/29/2012
Published By:Groundspeak Premium Member lumbricus
Views: 8

"This is pseudo-Gothic church with neo-Classical façade is built on the foundation of the former refectory of the Medieval St. Catherine's Dominican monastery. As the monastery was closed after Reformation in 1524, the new refectory was given to the town school. The Roman Catholic parish obtained the rooms in 1799 and built the church between 1841 and 44. The new western neo-Classical façade with its two low and stumpy towers (architects E. Jacoby and F. de Vries) were erected in 1924. This parish served as the only Roman Catholic one in Tallinn until the Order of St. Birgitta." (visit link)

"One of the best-kept secrets of Tallinn is to be found in the very center of the city. Located near Viru Street, between Müürivahe and Vene Streets, is a medieval Dominican monastery which reveals a fascinating dimension of the city’s history.

The Dominican Order was founded by a Spaniard, Saint Dominic Gusman, in 1216. Up to that moment only bishops were permitted to preach, but their performance was inadequate beause of the time they had to devote to the administrstion of their dioceses. The result was that many Christians heard the Word of God rarely if at all . Dominic envisioned the creation of a body of trained theologians who would scatter throughout Europe and proclaim the gospel in the most remote areas. The nordic countries appear very early on the Dominic anagenda.

To reach Tallinn the friars followed the trade route along the southern coast of the Baltic Sea, and reached Estonia some 750 years ago. The monastery in Tallinn was certainly in existence by1246.Constructed in the gothic style, it exhibits a number of Interesting architectural features,and contains the largest collection of carved stones in Estonia.

The site of the monastery in the Old City was carefully chosen in order to facilitate both the ministry of the friars and their business interests.They traded in fish in order to support themselves,but their reason for existing was preaching the word of God. The seal of the monastery bore the words ‘Order of Preachers”. The people, however, knew it as “Blackfriars Monastery’ because of the black cloak the friars wore in public over their white habit. Accoding to medieval documents the monastery was dedicated to Saint Catherine. A common symbol of the Dominican Order is a black and white dog holding in his mouth a burning torch. It derives from a pun on the Latin name of the friars, “Dominicanes”, which means ‘the followers of Dominic”. But the name could be split into two words “Domini canes” which means “the hounds of the Lord”. The torch represents the flame of truth. The monastery was celebrated for its scholarship Its best known prior was an Estonian from Tallinn named Mauritius. He studied theology in Cologne with one of the most eminent medieval scholars, Saint Albertus Magnus, and may have been a fellow-student of St Thomas Aquinas? Mauritius completed his studies at the University of Paris, which was then the best in Europe. On his return to his native land Mauritius kept in touch with colleagues in Germany. His intellectual stature is indicative of the quality of the monastery’s leadership. The offerings made on the occasion of such family festivals made a significant contribution to the monastery’s finances. The various guilds gave gifts when their feast days were celebrated. The Merchant Guild, for example, each year in December gave the friars a tun of meat, a tun of codfish, and a tun of peas. Rich burgers left legacies to the monastery for the privilege of having a family tomb in the church, But these did not suffice to sustain all those whom the monastery housed. The friars, in consequence, becaipe farmers and fish-mongers. In addition they ran a brewery, which produced four different kinds of beer. In northern Europe beer occupied the place enjoyed by wine in the south, and was a staple element of both the monastic and secular diet. The monastery also drew profit from the veneration of relics. Many documents mention twelve silver reliquaries containing the heads of saints. Some reposed on the high altar whereas others were enshrined on side altars. Each ‘head was reputed to cure a different set of diseases.
In 1517 the Reformation started in German and very quickly spread into the Baltic states. The loyalty of the friars to Rome made them immediate victims. In 1523 a Lutheran mob burnt down the Franciscan monastery in Kuramaa. The Dominican monastery in Tallinn was destroyed on ,1524." (visit link)

"In 1229 monks belonging to the Dominican Order arrived in Tallinn
from Denmark who founded their monastery at Toompea. Soon after
the brothers were forced to leave, but they were able to return to
Toompea in 1246, and they resumed their activities in 1260’s in the
place where today the Cathedral of St Peter and St Paul is located.

In 1249, the Cistercian Order founded the convent of St Michael
in the centre of the town and, in 1407, the convent of the Order of
the Most Holy Saviour of St. Bridget was established, close to the
border of the town.

Tallinn became the centre of the Diocese of Tallinn, which included
North Estonia and belonged to the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the
archbishop of Lund. The residence of the bishop and the main church
– the Dome Church – were at Toompea.

The reformation movement, which Martin Luther had begun,
reached Tallinn in 1523. The town council adopted the new ideas and
soon thereafter the celebration of the Catholic Mass was prohibited in
the centre of the town. The Dominicans were forced to leave the town,
the Cistercian convent was reformed in 1543, and the Bridgettine
convent was plundered by Russian troops in 1575.

At Toompea, where the nobility was in power, Catholic Masses
were celebrated until as late as 1561, when finally the nobility and
the town council swore allegiance to the Protestant King of Sweden
Erik XIV. During the Swedish reign, Catholicism was prohibited in

Tallinn capitulated to Russian troops in 1710 and the whole
territory of Estonia became part of the Russian empire. Multi-national
Russia was more tolerant in religious matters and in 1786 celebrating
the Catholic mass was resumed.

In 1799, in succession of the parishes which had been closed
down in 1561, a Roman Catholic parish was re-established in Tallinn
and it was permitted to use the former refectory of St Catherine’s
monastery of the Dominican Order, which had been closed down
in 1525. By 1832, the number of parishioners amounted to 1,500,
however, the refectory could scarcely contain 300 people and,
besides, the former refectory of the monastery was in poor technical
condition. On the basis of the plans and the budget drawn up by order
of the Civil Governor of Estonia, Duke Paul Friedrich Benckendorff, the
reconstruction of the old refectory into a new church began in 1841
which was designed by a well-known architect of St Petersburg, Carlo
Rossi. The vaults of the refectory and the south wall were demolished
and a practically new building was constructed. The cost amounted
to 15,865 roubles. The new Cathedral of St Peter and St Paul was
consecrated on 26 December 1845." (visit link)
Full name of the abbey/monastery/convent: St. Catherine's Dominican Monastery

Vene 18
Tallinn, Harjumaa Estonia

Religious affiliation: Catholic

Date founded/constructed: 1260's

Web Site: [Web Link]

Status of Use: Abandoned Ruin

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